What’s not to love about summer? The sun is out, the flowers are in bloom, and we can finally leave our winter jackets at home. It’s no wonder a 2012 survey by Rasmussen Reports found that almost a third of Americans say the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is their favorite time of year.
But if you need more of a push to get into the summer spirit, these pieces of trivia will have you ready to face the heat with the enthusiasm of an eight year old at a water park. From interesting tidbits about seasonal treats to the most fabulous festivals that take place this time of year, get ready to fall in love with summer.
1. Americans eat enough hot dogs on July 4 to stretch from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles five times.
That’s more than 150 million (!) hot dogs, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. But that’s not all: Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans consume a whopping 7 billion hot dogs, or 818 every second.
This phrase wasn’t inspired by lethargic, overheated pups. The “dog” in question is Sirius the Dog Star, which rises in the sky during late July as a part of the Greater Dog constellation, according to National Geographic. To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” indicated the hottest time of the year, a period that was said to bring fever and other types of catastrophe.
The world’s largest ship, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, is composed of 18 decks and is around 1,200 feet long. A football playing field is 100 yards, which is 300 feet, making the ship four times longer than an NFL field!
If you notice yourself feeling more chipper in the warmer months, you’re definitely not alone. For a 2011 study published in the journal Science, researchers looked at the tweets of some 2.4 million people around the world for two years. They found that when the change in daylight was positive (i.e. in the approach to the summer solstice), people posted significantly happier tweets than they did when the change in daylight was negative (i.e. in the approach to the winter solstice).
No matter how epic your summer BBQ, it probably couldn’t beat the longest one ever. Over the course of 80 hours (or 3.3 days), grillmaster Jan Greef of Columbus, Georgia, cooked up 1,000 hot dogs, 558 burgers, 526 boerewors (South African sausage), 104 pieces of chicken, and 200 pieces of corn. He set the record on April 27, 2014, according to Guinness World Records.
There are plenty of music festivals to check out in the summer. But if you want to experience something truly unique, then head to the Underwater Music Festival at Looe Key Reef in Florida. Held annually for more than three decades, the festival includes a pre-selected radio playlist that is streamed live from underwater speakers to an audience of snorkelers and divers.
And that’s a really, really good thing. Thanks to cleaner waters, which are a result of several environmental policies—including the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act—the number of whales (mostly humpbacks) spotted in the waters off New York City has risen from just five sightings in 2010 to 272 in 2018, according to the non-profit Gotham Whale.
If you’re an avid stargazer, you’ll be excited to learn that the most visible annual meteor shower takes place in the summer, according to NASA. Active between July 14 and August 24, the Perseids shower peaks around mid-August. At that time, up to 100 meteors will streak across the sky every hour at a speed of 37 miles per second. The Perseids are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the pre-dawn hours, so you might want to schedule an early morning adventure!
If you want to see the Eiffel Tower in all of its glory, then you might want to head to Paris in the summer. That’s because the 1,062-foot monument is more than six inches taller in the heat, thanks to thermal expansion, which causes the iron structure to expand, according to the Los Angeles Times. Even crazier, once the sun sets the tower begins to shrink again.
It takes skill to build a successful bonfire—or perhaps just a lot of lighter fluid—but you’d need to be a real pro to light one that could top the biggest bonfire ever recorded. On June 25, 2016, after three months of construction, the world’s largest bonfire was lit in Ålesund, Norway. It burned for two days and reached a height of 155 feet and 5.9 inches, according to Guinness World Records.
Did you know there were 30 different types of watermelon, let alone 300?! That’s according to the Watermelon Board. The most popular include seeded, seedless, and mini watermelons (all of which feature the familiar pinky-red interior), but there are also yellow and orange ones.
Summer isn’t just wedding season—it’s also prime time for birthdays. According to 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), August is the most popular birthday month, with 12.7 percent of birthdays occurring then. September, June, and July come in second and third (yep, there’s a tie here), with 12.6 percent, 12.1 percent, and 12.1 percent, respectively.
Many hotels offer pools, but the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson resort in Malaysia has 643 of ’em! According to research acknowledged by Guinness World Records, which only considered pools larger than 4.9 feet by 6.5 feet, the Lexis Hibiscus boasts the most pools of any resort in the world. That’s probably because each villa (pictured above) has its own private place to plunge.
If you head to certain beaches this summer, you’ll be able to spot more baby sea turtles than ever before in recent history. That’s because these animals’ numbers are on the rise—largely thanks to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. In 1979, there were 62 known North Atlantic green sea turtle nests in Florida. By 2017, that number had climbed to 53,102, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Consider this: Olympic pools contain about 660,000 gallons of water, while the average bath contains about 70. That means if you were to drain an Olympic pool and use it to fill your tub, you’d be set at bath time for the next 25 years (assuming you take one bath a day).
Since 1906, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks have marked the summer solstice with an annual baseball game. Known as the Midnight Sun Game, the ball play starts at 10:30 p.m. and extends until after midnight. However, there’s no need to light the field, since the area experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight during the summer months.
Anyone who loves the sea might want to book a night or two at the Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Central Oregon Coast (that’s a photo of it, above). The lighthouse has been helping mariners navigate the Pacific Ocean since 1894 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Today, visitors can stay in six different rooms in the lightkeeper’s cottages. Outside, they can enjoy a stunning view, as the lighthouse is perched on a cliff some 205 feet above the ocean.
Plan a trip to Tucson, Arizona, in early August to witness the World Margarita Championship. The event promises to be “an unforgettable evening of spirited cocktail competitions, tastings of world-class Margaritas and tequilas, the cuisine of the southwest, and more.” Attendees can vote for their favorite margarita for the “People’s Choice Award,” but a panel of expert judges chooses the official world champ.
Located in the lagoon at Key Largo Undersea Park in Florida, Jules’ Undersea Lodge is only accessible to divers. Thankfully, the hotel offers training to anyone who wants to visit their unusual accommodations, which sit 21 feet underwater on the lagoon floor. Once you’re submerged in your suite, you’ll enjoy a lounge area, a fully stocked kitchen, and bedrooms that boast views of the fish outside.
For some surfers, the thrill is all about catching the waves. But for Donald Dettloff of Maui, the surfboards are just as exciting. In 2009, Dettloff set the world record for the largest collection of surfboards, according to Guinness World Records. Even better? You can visit them. Dettloff wires each of his 647 boards to a fence at his home (that’s a piece of it, above), a practice he started in 1990 to keep them from blowing away in a hurricane.
You might appreciate the warm and sunny weather a little more when you find out that two centuries ago, there was a “year without summer,” according to USA Today. In 1816, after a massive volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia produced enough dust, ash, and sulfur dioxide to partially cloud the Earth’s atmosphere, the entire planet experienced a drop in temperature as well as other winter-like conditions, such as snow in June and frost in August.
If an icy popsicle is your summer treat of choice, you have an 11-year-old boy to thank. According to NPR, the snacks were invented by accident, courtesy of young Frank Epperson of San Francisco in 1905. As the story goes, Epperson had mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight.
The mixture froze—and it didn’t take long for Epperson to realize he made a delicious mistake. He began selling “Epsicles” around his neighborhood and then to a nearby amusement park in 1923. He finally applied for a patent in 1924. The rest, as they say, is history.
Action-packed films like Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom kept moviegoers on the edge of their seats in 2018, which is why audiences spent 11 percent more seeing summer blockbusters last summer than they did the summer before, according to Variety.
In 2019, blockbuster buffs are expected to top thanks to a stellar summer lineup, including Dark Phoenix (June 7), Men in Black: International (June 14), Toy Story 4 (June 21), Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2), The Lion King (July 19), and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (August 2).
These days, it’s hard to scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing tons of pool floats. The water toys aren’t just for kids anymore; they come in a range of shapes, from lobsters and ducks to avocados and pizza. However, the largest float ever was a blue swan. In 2017, AT&T and iHeartRadio created the largest inflatable pool toy ever, which measured 70.52 by 50.31 by 54.41 feet, according to Guinness World Records.
Spotting fireflies is one of the highlights of summer. But if you happen to be in the Southern Appalachians, you might be able to catch a glimpse of a ghost firefly—and you’ll know it if you see it because it will glow a unique blue-green shade.
If you don’t mind spending a lot of time in the car, you could feasibly visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in one 30-day road trip. To help people plan their trips, Harvard analyst Ben Blatt created an algorithm that takes teams’ schedules into account to find the shortest possible route. When schedules aren’t considered, the fastest possible trip starts with a visit to the Los Angeles Dodgers, moves south through Texas, then up the East Coast and back west toward Los Angeles to see the Los Angeles Angels.
If you want to relive the fun of sleepaway camp as an adult—or if you missed out in your younger years—you totally can! For $410, you can attend the weeklong New England Adult Music Camp. Or, if you’d prefer a more outdoorsy experience, you can attend the four-day Camp Throwback for $320. There, you can participate in archery, arts and crafts, campfires, s’mores, and field day.
You may have made a snow angel during the winter, but have you ever made a sand angel during the summer? On June 10, 2017, 1,387 people did just that on Stearns public beach on Lake Michigan when they set a world record for the most people making sand angels simultaneously, according to Guinness World Records.
Want to do a lap around the world’s longest lazy river? You’ll need to set aside approximately an hour. That’s how long it takes to complete the 3/4-mile loop at BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas.
Since it began in 1971, the Ukulele Festival Hawaii has attracted approximately 20,000 people each year. And it’s not just Hawaiians who participate—ukelele artists from around the world attend and perform at the festival to keep the art of the ukelele alive. The centerpiece of the celebration is a ukelele band of more than 800 musicians!
If someone at your next summer barbeque suggests playing tug-of-war, you can tell them that the game was once featured in the Olympics. “Appearing for the first time at the Paris Games in 1900, the tug-of-war survived on the program up to and including the Antwerp Games of 1920,” according to Time. “Official rules stipulated that an eight-man team had to pull their opponents six feet to win.” Apparently, the Brits were the team to beat; they won two golds and a silver medal in the years the sport was played.
Different parts of the country experience different types of weather. But one thing most regions have in common is the time of year they see their most sweltering days. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most locations in the contiguous U.S. experience their warmest days between July 15 and July 31.
Another reason you’re probably happier in summer? There are a lot more opportunities to get out in nature. One 2015 study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning found that when people took a 50-minute walk in a natural environment (as opposed to an urban one), they felt happier and experienced decreased levels of anxiety. So go ahead, use the warmer weather as an excuse to head out to your nearest park or green space for a mood-boosting stroll.
According to the Tea Association, Americans consumed 3.8 billion gallons of tea in 2018—and approximately 75 to 80 percent of that was of the iced variety. Iced tea became popular in the U.S. after the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. That was the year tea-maker Richard Blechynden put his hot tea over ice to help cool off overheated fair attendees.
In 1940, the American Forestry Association (now American Forest) launched a campaign to locate the largest trees in the country. They asked the public to nominate large trees in their area and added those trees to the National Register of Champion Trees. Today, that register still exists. You can search it to find a large tree near you, or nominate one that you think is worthy.
In 2013, Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World in Florida attracted more people than any other park, according to the Global Attractions Attendance Report. Their total visitor count, 2.1 million, is just a tiny bit short of the entire population of Houston, Texas (2.3 million).
Those who appreciate a kitschy outdoor aesthetic will likely be thrilled by the longest line of garden flamingos ever assembled. On June 21, 2018, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy in Buffalo, New York, set up 1,500 of the fabulously flamboyant faux birds.
After the record was achieved, all of the flamingos were “available for adoption.” Those that didn’t find new homes were picked up by a recycling company that intended to melt them down and turn them into benches for local public parks.
On August 19, 2012, 1,085 people ages six to 60 put on two-piece swimsuits to take part in the largest bikini parade ever, according to Guinness World Records. Organized by the Huludao Municipal Government in Huludao City, China, the line of swimsuit-clad participants stretched a staggering 1.1 miles.
Fresh fruit is quite a bit cheaper once the temperatures rise. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, strawberries cost around $3.17 per pound in December 2018 and just $1.94 per pound in June; similarly, lemons cost $2.40 in December 2018 and just $2.12 in June. Fruits like apricots, blueberries, melon, cherries, and corn are also in season (and often cheaper) in the summer months.
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